Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Third Rail: Americans Oppose Cutting Entitlements

Well, we're gonna need booming economic growth, and frankly an increasingly globalized immigration policy, if we don't go bankrupt first. At WSJ, "Poll Finds Support Lacking for Entitlement Reductions":

Obama Spending

Less than a quarter of Americans support trimming Social Security or Medicare to tackle the country's budget deficit, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that illustrates the challenge facing lawmakers seeking voter support for altering entitlement programs.

The poll, conducted between Feb. 24 and 28, found strong opposition for cuts to these entitlement programs across all age groups and ideologies. Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared cuts to Social Security "unacceptable."

The poll, however, revealed willingness by some respondents to make sacrifices to keep the programs from going broke.

Well over half of Americans favor bumping the retirement age to 69 by 2075, up from 66 now. An even larger share supports reducing retirement and Medicare payments to wealthier Americans.
The opposition against entitlement cuts comes four months after voters elected a crop of governors and conservative federal lawmakers who campaigned against government spending. Congressional Republicans have focused so far on cuts to discretionary spending. But a small group of U.S. senators in both parties has begun talks over changes to entitlement programs, as well as to the tax code.

House Republicans want to make entitlement reductions a key part of their next budget, while several likely 2012 GOP candidates vow to propose ways to shore up the finances of Social Security and Medicare as part of any campaign.

But Republican Bill McInturff and Democrat Peter Hart, the pollsters who conducted the survey, said it raised warning signs for anyone proposing cuts to those programs, which provide retirement benefits to seniors and help pay for their health-care, and to Medicaid, a health plan for the poor. The costs of those programs, which already make up 43% of federal spending, are expected to balloon in coming years.
More at the link.

Before you know it, folks won't be able to retire with full benefits until their 70s. Maybe that's good, but a lot of people are physically unable to work that long. And there's lots of economic pessimism at the poll. Check this out:
Americans remain clearly torn on the big questions of the national debt, government spending and the role of government in promoting jobs. Eight in 10 respondents said the growing federal deficit threatened to affect their family's future, but 62% also feared the effect of widespread cuts to government spending. Meanwhile, by a wide margin, more people saw job creation as a higher priority than deficit reduction.
It's a classic problem of the modern welfare state. As government grows to accommodate increasing demands for economic security, the political system gets locked into a collective action problem that disables the systems capacity to respond to economic crises. The going would be a tad bit easier if the voters dump the Democrats in 2012, which will be tough but not impossible, especially of economic growth remains tepid. See, "Federal deficit on track for a record this fiscal year: Government debt to exceed U.S. economy."


Brad said...

And what, pray tell, will these "respondents" do when these programs bankrupt us all? Stomp their feet & pitch a fit?

The premise of these polls - that "the numbers" care whether they find it "acceptable" or not - is idiotic.

Better poll would be "SSN is broke - how are we going to fix it?"

Bruce Hall said...

Do the cuts cut both ways? You know, less payout; less taxes? Or does the spending simply shift? Or is this much ado about nothing?

Anonymous said...

Agreed that how the questions are asked matters, but that's probably a moot point.

We're broke. The dollar is going to be right up there with the peso in the international currency exchange. Programs will have to be cut, interest rates will have to go up, lifestyles diminished. I actually feel a little sorry for these poor dopes in the polls: wtf are they going to do once this all hits the fan?

My guess is they'll probably watch American Idol and talk about whoever the train-wreck-du-jour is, I guess, in the cold and dark. Or bitch about sitting in line for 5 gallons of gasoline during their lunch breaks.

This is going to make the 70s look like a picnic, I'm afraid.

John said...

Can some one explain to me why "social" security is costing taxpayers money? Why it is part of the budget?! Isn't that an indication that it isn't working?
The social Ponzi scheme is crumbling...

dave in boca said...

Tea Party types are usually fifty-plus in age and therefore have paid into Social Security, something the libtards don't mention when they talk about 'hypocrisy.'

Let's face it, the national moral character has eroded apace with the acceptance of drugs and special pleading for certain libtard-defined groups in society. Every 'affirmative action' program cuts down the chances of what the criminal libtard conspiracy calls 'white privileges.'

Tell that to poor whites in Appalachia and the depressed Rust Bowl inhabitants fighting to keep their noses above the waterline.